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The Death Of Aliatar
by [?]


FROM THE SPANISH.

‘Tis not with gilded sabres
That gleam in baldricks blue,
Nor nodding plumes in caps of Fez,
Of gay and gaudy hue–
But, habited in mourning weeds,
Come marching from afar,
By four and four, the valiant men
Who fought with Aliatar.
All mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

The banner of the Phenix,
The flag that loved the sky,
That scarce the wind dared wanton with,
It flew so proud and high–
Now leaves its place in battle-field,
And sweeps the ground in grief,
The bearer drags its glorious folds
Behind the fallen chief,
As mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

Brave Aliatar led forward
A hundred Moors to go
To where his brother held Motril
Against the leaguering foe.
On horseback went the gallant Moor,
That gallant band to lead;
And now his bier is at the gate,
From whence he pricked his steed.
While mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

The knights of the Grand Master
In crowded ambush lay;
They rushed upon him where the reeds
Were thick beside the way;
They smote the valiant Aliatar,
They smote the warrior dead,
And broken, but not beaten, were
The gallant ranks he led.
Now mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

Oh! what was Zayda’s sorrow,
How passionate her cries!
Her lover’s wounds streamed not more free
Than that poor maiden’s eyes.
Say, Love–for didst thou see her tears:
Oh, no! he drew more tight
The blinding fillet o’er his lids
To spare his eyes the sight.
While mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

Nor Zayda weeps him only,
But all that dwell between
The great Alhambra’s palace walls
And springs of Albaicin.
The ladies weep the flower of knights,
The brave the bravest here;
The people weep a champion,
The Alcaydes a noble peer.
While mournfully and slowly
The afflicted warriors come,
To the deep wail of the trumpet,
And beat of muffled drum.

[Note:
THE DEATH OF ALIATAR.

Say, Love–for thou didst see her tears, etc.

The stanza beginning with this line stands thus in the original:–

Dilo tu, amor, si lo viste;
iMas ay! que de lastimado
Diste otro nudo a la venda,
Para no ver lo que ha pasado.

I am sorry to find so poor a conceit deforming so spirited a composition as this old ballad, but I have preserved it in the version. It is one of those extravagances which afterward became so common in Spanish poetry, when Gongora introduced the estilo culto, as it was called.]